I seized the opportunity given to me, returning from Kazakhstan, to have a meeting with President Putin. We talked about Ukraine, of course, but not just Ukraine.
Ukraine, because France wants this crisis to end. It is causing suffering. Suffering for the Ukrainians first. Suffering, too, because there are sanctions. Suffering because there aren’t the exchanges with Russia that there should normally be.
So we’ve got to use every instrument to find a way out of this crisis. The instrument within our reach is quite simply what the protagonists themselves signed, i.e. the Minsk Protocol. That was in September this year. As you know, France in a way initiated the process, with Germany, at the so-called Normandy summit. That was on 6 June. Six months on, we must ensure that this Minsk agreement, signed in September, can be applied in full.
What does this mean? It means that the ceasefire which will be declared tomorrow or the day after tomorrow can be effective – i.e. fully, entirely observed. It also means exchanges of prisoners taking place, as was planned, and political dialogue between Ukrainians too, in the framework of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. That’s an essential principle. Finally, it means there can be respect for the borders, particularly between Ukraine and Russia. On all these points, there must now be not only progress but results.
I also discussed with President Putin issues relating to Iran – particularly what must be negotiated in order for Iran to give up nuclear weapons – and Syria, where we must ensure a political solution can be found, while at the same time being obliged to act against Daesh [ISIL], against terrorism.
It’s important, when there are moments of crisis, for France to take the initiative. It did so only a few months ago – I mentioned the Normandy summit with Angela Merkel. It’s still doing so, and it always will, because France’s role is to seek solutions and prevent problems from degenerating.
Today I wanted to send a message with President Putin, namely that of de-escalation. And today it’s possible. Thank you./.